Just returned from our Whitney trip last night so I wanted to get this posted as soon as I could.
My Son (19)
My Father (73)
Drove up from So. Cal.
Camped at the Whitney Portal campground
Entered main trail at Portal
Camped at Trail Camp
From Trail Camp made the summit
Returned from summit and camped at Trail Camp for 2nd night
Left Trail Camp and exited at the portal
Returned back to So. Cal.
What a great experience! For the most part the trip went as planned. We had ideal weather throughout our trip even though it was a little cool on our first night at Trail Camp. The key was no wind! One of the hardest parts of our trip was the first day going from the portal to Trail Camp with full packs on. The pack weight, thin air, and elevation gain made for a long and difficult day. Though I think if we had settled for Outpost Camp we would not have been able to make the summit. Our day trip from Trail Camp to the summit was incredible. The cable and ice sections on the switchbacks were passed cautiously without crampons with no difficulties. What amazing views from Trail Crest! By the time we summited (12:15pm) we practically had the summit to ourselves. The summit was perfect; we had no wind at all and it was rather warm. You really do have the sense of being on top of the world when you're on top of Whitney. I would like to thank all the people we encountered along the way that encouraged us to keep moving and told us that we were "almost there".
At 73 years of age my dad did an awesome job and his determination never wavered in his bid for the summit. We needed to make frequent stops on our ascent to Trail Camp as well as the summit so he could catch his breath, but even with the stops we still made descent time. I hope when I'm 70+ I will be in the condition he is in.
In the 3 weeks prior to attempting Whitney we made attempts to climb San Jacinto and San Gorgonio peaks for conditioning. Those two trips ended in failures due to time constraints, gear, and weather (snowed on us). Even though we failed to summit these peaks it did wonders for conditioning us for our Whitney ascent. I would strongly suggest planning high altitude ascents to shake out your gear and get your body conditioned for the assault on Whitney.
The only bad thing that happened on our trip was that I managed to lose a camera memory card coming back from the summit. While on the switchbacks right before the cable section (on our way down to Trail Camp) I filled the memory card for my camera, so I swapped it out for my backup card. I put the used card in a case and that case in a small plastic baggie along with a grey lens cleaning cloth. Then I put the baggie in my pants pocket. It wasn't until the next morning at Trail Camp did I realize that this baggie was missing. So somewhere on that trail section there lies an irreplaceable collection of images from our trip including the summit. I fear that the mountain has consumed this bag and the photos are lost forever, but we do have some video from a flip so all is not completely lost. I'm offering a $100 reward to anyone that returns the card (or images) to me. The memory card (SanDisk 16GB CF) has my name and cell number on it, so I'm praying it finds its way into someone's hands.
All the best to those making their attempt at summiting Whitney!